Underhill, John (1545?-1592) (DNB00)

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UNDERHILL, JOHN (1545?–1592), bishop of Oxford, was born about 1545 at the Cross Inn (now the Roebuck), Cornmarket, Oxford. He entered Winchester College in 1556, and was elected a fellow of New College, Oxford, on 27 Oct. 1561, being admitted B.A. on 11 Dec. 1564 and M.A. on 27 July 1563. He obtained the degrees of B.D. and D.D. on 7 July 1581. In 1570 he was appointed praelector of moral philosophy, and in 1575 filled the office of proctor. In 1576 he offered some opposition to Robert Horne (1519?-1580) [q. v.], bishop of Winchester, in his visitation of the college, and Horne, who used his power very freely, removed him from his fellowship. Underhill, however, had recourse to the chancellor of the university, the Earl of Leicester, by whose advice he threatened Home with a lawsuit, and procured his reinstatement. In the following year, on 22 June, after much controversy, he was elected rector of Lincoln College. About 1581 he became chaplain in ordinary to the queen, and on 7 Sept. was instituted rector of Thornton-le-Moors, Cheshire. About 1586 he was appointed one of the vicars of Bampton, and on 15 March 1586-7 was instituted rector of Witney in Oxfordshire. On 8 Dec. 1589 he was elected bishop of Oxford on the recommendation of Walsingham, succeeding Hugh Curwen [q. v.] after a long vacancy. He died in London on 12 May 1592, and was buried in Christ Church Cathedral towards the upper end of the choir. After his death the see remained vacant for eleven years, and 'was made a prey (for the most part) to Robert, earl of Essex.' On 12 Feb. 1603-4 John Bridges (d. 1618) [q. v.] was consecrated his successor.

[Wood's Athenae Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 830; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500-1714; Harington's Briefe View of the State of the Church of England, 1653, p. 149 ; Wood's Hist, and Antiq. of the Univ. of Oxford, ed. Gutch, ii. 187; Kirby's Winchester Scholars, p. 134.]

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